Today Year 13 put poems on trial as part of the preparation for AQA LitB4. I blogged about the idea here: https://jwpblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/putting-a-poem-on-trial-at-the-cenotaph-and-futility/
and thought a follow up would be interesting.
Although very close to the end of the summer term and disrupted by absences, the discussion warmed up well and teaching points could be developed. The obvious ones were a tendency to generalise and a reluctance to engage with proof – assertion is not the same as developed thought. However the debate did highlight the issues around personal perspectives which the students need to understand. AQA are clear that a good essay is an essay with genuine debate. This activity has helped the students to realise that the debate that they took part in is the same thought process as the discussion they need to have in their heads when planning and writing – an awareness of alternative viewpoint and a willingness to engage with critical discussion of all viewpoints is vital to the writing of a strong piece of work. The activity helped to show this, especially in the discussion after the actual debate. There is no simple answer to any discussion of relative value of artworks – consequently the debate must be all-encompassing and the thought processes complex. The Critical Anthology has to be used to channel ideas and to provide a structure to the debate, but the ideas must be personal and independent.
If you choose to watch the attached clip, this was in no way rehearsed and is the first attempt at the activity. I hope you find it useful.
the discussion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d4WTmM3euQ&feature=youtu.be